History will not forgive those who have remained silent, exhibited or expressed ‘balanced’ positions – or worse, defended Israel’s ongoing genocide in an already besieged, impoverished and overcrowded Gaza.
This is not a cliché declaration, a desperate attempt aimed at jolting the world, especially the Western world, to show a degree of morality as Palestinians are dying in their thousands, as the pulverized bodies of children are scattered in every neighborhood in Gaza.
No, this is about history.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, Washington and its Western allies wanted to impose a new history on the Middle East, in fact, the Muslim world, a history in which the West is fighting a civilizational ‘war against terror’.
Since then, it has been stated numerous times, directly or otherwise, that the culprits, the ‘bad guys’ in this American scenario, are Muslims – their religion, their languages, their cultures, their very societal make-up.
In truth, there was no collective enemy. That is why it had to be invented. Muslims were not united. They had their own regional, political and even sectarian conflicts. In fact, most Muslim governments were considered ‘US allies’, beholden to American diktats and agendas, however destructive and violent.
In this make-belief world, the Middle East was made up of ‘radical Islamists’, who, out of sheer ‘jealousy’ of Western progress and civilization, signed a social contract to defeat democracy and enlightenment.
The West, including Israel and many other agents, jumped on board. They all wanted to be part of this ‘war on terror’, and the ample strategic opportunities it offered.
But that history was fabricated. America fought a war for its own selfish reasons: oil, gas, strategic maneuvering and geostrategic great games.
Meanwhile, Israel was fighting against a Palestinian liberation movement that existed decades before 9/11 and will remain in existence until Palestinians recover and return to their colonized homeland.
Many chauvinists and racists in the West, ultimately clustering into the far-right formations we see today, used Islam and Muslims as a scapegoat to justify their independently existing racism, hate for immigrants and refugees, and as fodder in their political war against the so-called liberals.
Not that the latter group fared any better. Statements that justify Israel’s genocide on Gaza uttered by Joe Biden in Washington or Emmanuel Macron in Paris, or Olaf Scholz in Berlin, are hardly distinguishable from any fascist ideologue in their own countries or anywhere else.
This is the uncomfortable truth that Americans and Westerners, in general, must now contend with. Their internal ideological war is but a farce. Liberalism and conservatism can only mean something when they are put to the test. And the whole Western establishment, with its various ideological colors – with very minor exceptions – has failed the moral test on Palestine, and miserably so.
But, luckily for Palestinians, the West does not hold all the cards. At least, not anymore. This is not 1990-91, or 2003, when the US carried out major wars in the Middle East, largely uncontested, and was allowed to reshape the region to fit its expectations and those of Tel Aviv and Brussels.
A new Middle East is emerging, indeed, and it promises to be Washington’s worst nightmare, because those who are solidifying behind Palestinians are no longer linked by race, color or creed.
There is a new Islamic world that is emerging, one that includes Shia and Sunni, one that has no space for terrorism and random violence against innocent people.
This new principled Middle East is now uniting around Gaza, this tiny little stretch of land with a seemingly never-ending humanitarian crisis, one that was created by Israel, and Israel alone.
When Israel decided to besiege Gaza following the democratic Palestinian elections of 2006, they must have never expected that the Palestinians there would be able to hold on for this long, would be able to fight back and would be able to assert themselves as the center of the struggle for Palestinian freedom – in fact, the struggle against American imperialism in the entire region.
This is what Gaza has demonstrated to us and to anyone who is willing to liberate himself from decades of US indoctrination in the Middle East or beyond it:
One, no peace, stability, security, or prosperity in the Middle East is possible without justice for Palestine and freedom for the Palestinian people.
Two, though the Arabs have largely failed Palestine, and continue to do so, Muslim nations are finding a common ground around their support for the Palestinian people. If this momentum continues – and it should – it will be a game changer.
Three, Israel is militarily weak and, despite all assurances by Tel Aviv throughout the years, it is nothing but a vassal, a client regime for Washington. Its survival is linked to Washington’s support in every possible way.
Four, the US no longer holds all the cards. With the unity of Resistance throughout the Middle East, the growing clout of Iran, the refusal of Arab countries to play the role of lackeys for Washington and the strong position from China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and others, the region is no longer an American playbook.
Five, armed resistance is not a fantasy, as many have believed and repeated throughout the years. True, while Gaza, on its own, will not be able to defeat Israel, the combined power of the Resistance is demonstrating that Israel is no longer the all-powerful country that, single handedly – with American support, of course – defeated several Arab armies in 1967.
Six, and perhaps, the most important of all these realizations, is that Gaza has ended the sectarian war in the Middle East, a decades-long conflict that has been stirred by numerous parties, including the US, Israel, Middle Eastern governments and many terrorist groups.
When the US launched its war on Afghanistan in 2001 and, again, on Iraq in 2003, it hardly expected that the Middle East, merely two decades later, would reinvent itself beyond American definitions and expectations.
And to think that tiny little Gaza is the spark that has refocused the energies of the whole region is a political miracle, that many political scientists will find difficult to understand, let alone explain.
Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is ‘Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out’. His other books include ‘My Father was a Freedom Fighter’ and ‘The Last Earth’. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net